|Regions in Italy Sicily Province of Messina Giardini Naxos|
Province of Messina, Sicily, Italy
Naxos, founded in 734 BC, was the first Greek colony in Sicily. Ancient Naxos was then destroyed, and the center that rose in its place in the Middle Ages as a fishermen's village.
In the late 19th century elegant villas were built, used as holiday mansions by the upper classes. It is today a popular seaside-resort, that can be reached in less than one hour from Fontanarossa airport in Catania, offering more than 40 hotels, and a great number of vacation homes, restaurants, pizzerias and discos.
Population: about 9,000 inhabitants -- Zip/postal code: 98030 -- Phone Area Code: 0942
What to see
Founded by Thucles the Chalcidian in 734 BC, it was never a powerful city, but its temple of Apollo Archegetes, protecting deity of all the Greek colonies, gave it prominence in religious affairs. Leontini and Catania were both colonized from here. Hippocrates, tyrant of Gela, captured it in 494 BC.
Its opposition to Syracuse ultimately led to its capture and destruction in 403 BC at the hands of Dionysius the tyrant, after it had supported Athens during that city's disastrous Sicilian expedition. Though the site continued to be inhabited, most activity shifted to neighbouring Tauromenium.
In the Middle Ages, Naxos had lost importance and even lost its name. During the Arabian period, it was called Al Kusus. During the Norman period Kusus became Kisoi and then Schisò. Since the area was widely cultivated with citrus orchards, it came to be known as "Giardini" and was part of the administrative area of Taormina. In 1846 Ferdinand II, King of the two Sicilies transformed it into an independent commune.
The economic development of Giardini Naxos started around 1870 after the opening of the railway Messina-Catania, and changed the small maritime village into one of the best tourist destinations in Sicily.
Where to stay
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